“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Then Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them; and whose sins you retain are retained.” Reconciliation is one gift of the Resurrection
In part this proclamation of love and forgiveness—the formula of our salvation, is what led the Church, under the guidance of Pope St. JPII to proclaim this second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. For we rely on the loving mercy of the Savior to forgive and through that forgiveness be healed and help heal others—live as children of God—in His one family of faith.
St. Peter tells us that “Although you have not seen him you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet believe in him,
However, do we really believe and live as if we are loved by God? Do we live the forgiveness and mercy of the Lord by offering the same to others in our lives?
We know there are times when we do not, —and we know when, how, and where we do not live the faith of forgiveness—where there is discord not peace. Often the rupture is in families.
There so many ways and times that we forget our true relatedness to God–the relationship that goes beyond our bloodline—it is the Holy Spirit breathing in us and through us—even in those family members that may be tough to love. And the forgiveness and mercy of Christ—His divine mercy—needs to begin at home in families—not always easy, but required if there is to be peace.
Perhaps there are times in our lives when we are unwilling, unable or simply not ready to accept his ways and give up our old ways of thinking and judging others—even judging ourselves—and there is no peace. Maybe it is because we would rather hold onto the negativity and resentment—maybe it is fear of who would we be without our old crutches—the limited ways we confine or condemn others— and ourselves!
Yet, if there is one thing that Easter Resurrection teaches us it is that forgiveness and mercy are divine—they come from God—the divine instinct in us. Living a life of faith in Easter Resurrection—of forgiveness and mercy — brings out the divine—the Holy Spirit at work in us-it is tangible He is tangible in those moments—very real.
Jesus claimed that reality in his locution to St. Mary Faustina, he told the devout saint to tell all:
“I am love and mercy personified” Christ pours out this mercy on us though the sending of the Spirit who, in the Trinity, is the Person-Love. When we have faith in such mercy and love, we begin to see ourselves in a better light and we offer the same forgiveness—God’s love—we move out of ourselves—and see others in a better light—His light. “Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him,”.
St. Faustina gives us a beautiful way to forgive and believe: “He who knows how to forgive prepares for himself many graces from God. As often as I look upon the cross, so often will I forgive with all my heart.” (390, page 175). We also have learned that when we care for others who are suffering we are gazing at the cross, when we listen to the Holy Spirit in us, we then grow in charity-it feels natural-second nature-Jesus-like. You all know that there is rarely a time in our lives when we experience such profound joy and fulfillment as when a smile is born on a face because of the love and service we offer to someone in need.
It is then that through us, the loving breath of Jesus –the Holy Spirit enters another’s life because we looked and saw someone in need¾and we responded. It is then that we show our faith. For although we have not seen Jesus as the original disciples did, we believe and live out our faith in him through our many acts of kindness, forgiveness of one another, and in acts of love. Holy Spirit breathing love, Easter Resurrected love in us. It is then that His peace is with us through Christ’s Divine Mercy!